ReviewWriter: Erny SuziraWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
Studio Ghibli’s movies The Good, the Bad and the False Witch:
"Mary and the Witch's Flower" is Studio Ponoc's very first feature film, directed by Hiromasa Yonebashi, a former animator and director for Studio Ghibli, whose works include Oscar-winning "Spirited Away" and Oscar-nominated "When Marnie Was There".
Much like many Studio Ghibli titles, "Mary and the Witch's Flower" is a vibrant and colourful movie centered on a young protagonist who goes on a magical and exciting adventure filled with hope, love and dreams.
The main character Mary Smith is a good-for-nothing clumsy girl who visits her great aunt's house at the countryside. While she is there, she happens to find a mysterious flower which grants her magical powers for a single night.
Along the way, she also comes across a witch's academy above the sky and is mistaken for a witch - a talented one at that. Mary thinks that she finally found a place where she belongs, but she soon discovers a dark secret behind the academy and the purpose of the flower.
While the story sounds exciting and feels very familiar, it has quite a few loopholes and it doesn't give the same satisfaction as those other films from Studio Ghibli.
It is understandable that the movie is from a different studio, thus comparing it with the films from Ghibli would be unfair, but considering that it has a lot of elements and similarity to Ghibli's works, one can't help but to compare it any way.
From the trailer, the story seems exciting and fun, but the real experience is not so much so. The plot is pretty generic and the twist is quite predictable, but most importantly, it doesn't have the "wow" factor.
Compared to Yonebashi's previous work when he was with Ghibli, "When Marnie Was There", despite the plot being slow, the movie at least has a surprising twist and a really heart-warming drama, but "Mary and the Witch's Flower" doesn't have those elements, and the characters lack depth.
What's really ticking about this movie is that it has the potential to go even further and become even better, but it plays on the safe side instead, causing the story to be less satisfactory.
The only fulfilling part of the movie is its stunning visuals, gorgeous animation, and hand-painted scenery backdrops which beautifully portray the lush countryside of England.
In conclusion, considering that this is Studio Ponoc's first venture, it is considered quite enjoyable and fun, but there is definitely room for improvement. Trivia:
• The director of this movie has previously worked on several of Studio Ghibli's films. Cinema Online, 16 November 2017